My next project is a dress that I’ve been looking forward to making for months now, in fact, since I first saw the pattern on the Minerva website. The pattern is aptly named Glamour Girl Dress and it is just that – it positively oozes old Hollywood charm.  If I was to pick one feature of the design that drew me in it has to be the waist yoke with the front tie. I’ve seen a lot of dress patterns and I don’t think I’ve ever seen one with a feature like this! There are so many elements to this dress that all come together to make it look so authentic to its name and just captivating.

The dress is an early 1940s design; very feminine and elegant. The pattern also notes that the fabric requirement is very reasonable, which reflects the economical situation during World War II. On the back of the pattern pack there are a couple of paragraphs of information about the dress, design and the era the dress is based on. I really enjoyed reading it and appreciate touches like this from the pattern designers, Folkwear. It really makes it feel like a lot of thought has gone into all aspects of the design of the pattern and not just the finished look. My final fan-girl comment about the pattern is how much I love the illustration on the front – if that doesn’t make you want to make this dress then I don’t know what will!

When choosing my fabric I was undecided whether to go for a fancier fabric for an evening dress or stick to cotton for a day dress. In the end my mind was made up because I stumbled across the ‘Botanical Flemenco’ fabric by Lady McElroy. There are three different colour-ways and I chose the Winter White background. I love these designs so much! The flamingos clinched it for me. The many different shades of pink on the ivory background are beautiful!  The fabric is a lawn so it has drape, which the pattern requires, and it has a lovely sheen so I think it could be dressed up easily as well being worn relaxed as more of a day dress in spring.

As a contrast, I cut the waist yoke and the back hip yoke pattern pieces from a plain pink cotton in a shade matching one of the duskier patches on the fabric. 

I set aside more time than usual to make this dress as it has quite a few fiddly features and I knew I would need to concentrate to get everything correct. Plus, I did not want to have to do any unpicking on my precious Lady McElroy fabric!

Note on this pattern that the seam allowance is 1/2” rather than the standard 5/8”.

Once I got started I realised that actually, nothing in the instructions was tricky at all, but precision was key! Because you have so many different shapes overlapping and interlocking around the hip yoke and neck, everything needs to line up correctly to prevent any pulling or mis-matching. I managed to stitch the neck-facing together wrong twice before I got it the right way round and not twisted!

I normally find that I need to make sleeves slightly wider compared with the size I’m cutting for the main body so I added 1/2inch to the circumference of the sleeve and I love how they fit now, just skimming my arm and not tight at all.  The sleeves have also got a lovely feature on them where two sides are gathered around the elbow.

I liked the use of bias binding for neatening a lot of the edges in this project. It’s used on the edges of the waist (hidden underneath the waist yoke), the sleeve edges and the hem. I think finishes like this bring your project up to the next level.

You can pull the waist tie tighter for a more cinched look but I left it slightly looser so that the dress hung more smoothly.

I’m really pleased with how this project turned out – after being slightly nervous, the pattern walked through every step so I had no reason to be and the dress has turned out beautifully! The delicate pattern of the fabric really compliments the draping and shapes of the dress. I love the pop of pink around the waist too.

This is definitely one to add to the ‘make again’ list! Can you imagine how amazing this dress would look in a silk or satin?!

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

Rebecca

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